Four-star 2015 wing Cameron Walker really improving this spring

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INDIANAPOLIS — One player who has really improved this spring is California wing Cameron Walker. The 6-foot-7 Walker showed some promise last summer with the Compton Magic in helping the team win the 16U title at the Super 64 and now Walker is handling even more responsibilities this spring on the adidas Gauntlet.

The No. 50 player in the 2015 class according to Rivals.com, Walker has shown off a lot of versatile qualities this spring in playing multiple spots for the Magic. Walker averaged 12.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game on 48 percent shooting from the field and 33 percent shooting from three-point range in 16 games this spring.

“I think I’m playing alright. As a team we’re not doing too well but hopefully we pick it up. I just take a “next game” approach and try to stay focused on the next game we have,” Walker said to NBCSports.com

In the Indianapolis event, Walker even ran point for the Magic, as starting lead guard and SMU commit Sedrick Barefield was out of action for the weekend. Walker looked good running the point and showed an ability to at least be a secondary ball handler in college.

“We didn’t have Sedrick today so they kind of asked me to step in at point guard. That’s fine with me. I play it with my high school team, so I just stepped in and tried to do my job,” Walker said.

Although Walker looked strong handling the ball and distributing to teammates, he acknowledged that he’s probably more of a wing at the college level.

“I see myself as a two or a three. When you get to the college level a lot of guys are stronger and taller so probably a two or a three,” Walker said.

Walker’s improvement this spring is great news for his top eight. Walker narrowed his list recently and gave his top eight to NBCSports.com

“I just narrowed my list down to a top eight,” Walker said. “UCLA, Florida, Harvard, San Diego State, Stanford, Cal, Arizona State and Colorado are my top eight so those are the main schools coming after me right now.”

The process for Walker is still in the early stages when it comes to his top eight.

“I don’t have any visits yet. As July comes, I’ll narrow down my list and start taking visits in August,” Walker said. “I think by the end of July when I take my five official visits that will be my top five. And then hopefully then I’ll know or maybe I’ll commit. I’m going to sign in November so that’s the decision I’m (aiming) to make.”

One of the interesting storylines involving Walker’s recruitment is Cal recruiting him with new head coach Cuonzo Martin. Martin recently made a Sweet Sixteen with Tennessee but hasn’t been known as a major force in recruiting the West Coast.

“I have spoken to him a lot. Coach Martin calls me or texts me every day. When he was at Tennessee he never recruited me at all but since he’s been at Cal he’s been recruiting me,” Walker said. “He’s asked me how I’m doing, how’s school, how’s basketball and just to be aggressive and look to score more.”

Martin is one of many successful coaches recruiting Walker and he said that he has a few factors in mind when looking for a future college program.

“It’s going to come down to my relationship with all of the coaches. I have to have a great relationship with the head coach so it’s going to come down to that. Also a school that has a good academics and my overall fit with the school,” Walker said.

High school basketball player collapses, dies at AAU event

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James Hampton, a member of Team United and a senior at Liberty Heights, a private high school in Charlotte, collapsed and died during a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League game on Saturday night.

Hampton was 17 years old.

In the second half of a game against Nike Phamily, a Phoenix-based program that is run by the father of Marvin Bagley III, Hampton collapsed to the floor unresponsive. Trainers at the event began CPR on and administered chest compressions. Parademics arrived within 10 minutes, but Hampton could not be revived.

The cause of death has not yet been released, but this is not the first time that Hampton had an issue. Last spring, at an event in the Washington D.C. area, Hampton collapsed on the court and had to be given CPR.

“He just fell down on the floor,” Team United director Jacoby Davis told the Charlotte Observer. “He had seizures a year ago and I remember (one of the Team United coaches) telling me that, ‘I saw his eyes rolling back in his head.’ I ran on the court thinking he was having a seizure. A trainer came over and said he didn’t know what was wrong. Another trainer checked his pulse. He said he didn’t have a pulse. It got crazy after that.”

RIP James Hampton.

Nevada’s Jordan Caroline pulls out of 2018 NBA Draft

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Jordan Caroline has opted to pull his name out of the 2018 NBA Draft as he will return to Nevada for his senior season, he announced on Saturday.

The 6-foot-7 Caroline put together a strong season for the Wolf Pack as he averaged 17.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game as Nevada made the Sweet 16 behind one of the most talented offenses in the country.

Caroline’s return is a huge boost for Nevada as they still await the NBA draft decisions of Caleb and Cody Martin.

Currently ranked No. 17 in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25 (without the Martin twins), the Wolf Pack will still have a ton of talent around Caroline next season. Five-star freshman center Jordan Brown recently committed to Nevada. The program also a number of talented transfers entering the mix, including Tre’Shawn Thomas, Nisre Zouzoua and Ehab Amin.

If the Martin twins return to school (and that is a big if) then Nevada could have a potentially elite offense next season. But even if the Martin twins go pro, Nevada should still be the favorite in the Mountain West and a threat to once again make the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Dewan Huell returning to Miami for junior season

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Miami received some positive news on Saturday afternoon as the school announced the return of forward Dewan Huell for his junior season.

After testing the NBA draft waters without an agent, the 6-foot-11 Huell will be back for the Hurricanes. Starting all 32 games for the program last season, Huell averaged 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the floor.

“After getting feedback from NBA teams and talking it over with my family and coaches, I would like to announce that I will be returning to Miami for my junior season,” Huell said in the release. “I’m really excited to get back to work with my brothers so we can accomplish more than ever during the 2018-19 season.”

A former McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, Huell’s return gives the Hurricanes stability in the front court for next season as he’ll play with other returning players like Sam Waardenburg and Ebuka Izundu. With Miami losing both Lonnie Walker and Bruce Brown early to the 2018 NBA Draft, Huell could be expected to provide more offensive production as a junior.

Bruce Weber receives contract extension at Kansas State

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Kansas State and head coach Bruce Weber have agreed to a two-year contract extension, according to a release from the school.

After leading the Wildcats to a surprising Elite Eight appearance in March, Weber will be the head coach at Kansas State through the 2022-23 season, which gives him another five seasons to work with. Weber will be paid $2.5 million in 2018-19 and he’ll receive a $100,000 increase to his salary in each remaining contract year.

Weber had already signed a two-year extension in August 2017, but this move gives the veteran head coach more job security (and positive recruiting perception) for the next few seasons.

“We are very fortunate to have not only such an outstanding basketball coach but also a man in Coach Weber who conducts his program with integrity and class and is widely respected across the nation,” Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor said. “Certainly last season was one of the most memorable postseason runs in our program’s history, and we are excited for next season and the years ahead under Coach Weber’s leadership.”

With Kansas State returning most of its roster from last season, including the return of guard Barry Brown from the 2018 NBA Draft process, expectations are sky-high for Weber and the Wildcats this season. Currently ranked as the No. 8 team in the NBCSports.com Preseason Top 25, Kansas State’s veteran club could give Kansas a serious run for a Big 12 regular season title this season.

Northwestern loses incoming freshman point guard

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Northwestern and incoming freshman point guard Jordan Lathon are parting ways. The 6-foot-4 Lathon was viewed as a potential candidate to replace Bryant McIntosh at lead guard for the Wildcats this season, but Northwestern has reportedly revoked his offer of admission and basketball scholarship.

It is unclear why Lathon was unable to be admitted into Northwestern, but the school’s VP for University Relations, Alan Cubbage, gave a statement to Inside NU’s Davis Rich and Caleb Friedman.

“Northwestern University has revoked its offers of admission and an athletic scholarship for Jordan Lathon, a recruit for the Northwestern men’s basketball team,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the privacy of the student, the University will have no further public comment.”

Lathon later acknowledged the situation in a tweet explaining to fans that he will no longer be attending Northwestern.

While it is unclear why Lathon and Northwestern are parting ways, other high-major programs are already very interested in bringing in Lathon for next season. Oklahoma State immediately jumped in with a scholarship offer. There is also speculation that Lathon, a native of Grandview, Missouri, could also hear from the in-state Tigers as well.

It’ll be interesting to see where Lathon lands, and how this also affects Northwestern’s point guard situation. The loss of a four-year starter like McIntosh will be tough to fill, especially since Lathon was committed to Northwestern since last June. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wildcats and head coach Chris Collins seek out a veteran point guard graduate transfer to try and get some immediate help.